Transitional provisions for higher-risk buildings

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Closes 12 Oct 2022

Introduction

After a change to building regulations, it is common practice to provide a transitional period – normally somewhere between two and twelve months. Under the transitional period, those that have already notified a building control body of their plans are allowed to continue under the old rules provided they have started building work on site. This provides clarity to developers and reduces the risk of retrospective impact resulting from changes to the rules.

The Government does not normally consult on transitional provisions but given the significance of the change in the regulatory regime and oversight we wish to set out the proposed transitional provisions for higher-risk buildings subject to the new more stringent regulatory framework.

As outlined earlier, the Government is becoming increasingly aware of evidence that the current approach to transitional arrangements and the related definition of the commencement of work developers must comply with receive transitional protections is open to gaming. In line with the Government’s intention to improve the focus on building safety during design and construction, we want to ensure the transitional provisions are sufficiently robust and prevent developers from using them to avoid the more stringent requirements of the new regime. Through previous consultations and the passage of the Building Safety Act 2022 the Government has communicated to the industry its intentions to put in place a robust building control regime, including a gateways process for new higher-risk buildings during design and construction. Therefore, we strongly believe industry has had sufficient time to prepare themselves to meet new building control requirements. 

In the Building a Safer Future consultation, the Government outlined a proposal that developments in scope of the new regime that are already underway should be required to go through the next relevant stage of the overall gateway process. Following further assessment of this proposal, we have concluded that this approach is not viable. The requirements of the new building control regime for higher-risk buildings are comprehensive and linked to the information provided to the Building Safety Regulator and the prescribed documents. Building control oversight at the completion certification application stage is supported by the provision of information we propose to require from dutyholders when they submit an application for building control approval.  

We recognise that the transitional provisions need to be viable and straightforward for developers to comply with to ensure that the proposed arrangements work in practice. Furthermore, we firmly believe that changing requirements during the construction phase of a project is unfair and disproportionate. Changing requirements during construction would cause a significant amount of disruption to dutyholders and may result in the requirements for these buildings being unviable for both developers and the Building Safety Regulator.

Please fill out the demographic questions below. If you have already provided this information for a previous consultation section in this area, you will still need to provide it again. 

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